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School University Research Relations

School Research Relations FAQ

(Last Updated: 5/17/2023)


  • Who can I contact if I have questions about the submission process or status?

Beth Niswander, Director of Strategic Initiatives, has been fielding college and campus researcher questions and requests for school research placements on an interim basis since August 2022.

The search for a new full time Director of School University Research Relations will soon be underway.

We continue to prioritize consistent communications with our school district partners. Please email any questions to; we will endeavor to respond promptly.

  • Where can I access the collaboration application form?

Please submit all research projects from the online form (university login required).

  • Is there a deadline to submit research collaboration requests?

To accommodate local needs, we have asked that projects seeking collaboration submit as far in advance as possible. Research requests are submitted to school district administration on the first and third Fridays of each month. Collaboration forms received in the interim will be held until the next submission date.

Project Collaboration with Schools and Districts

  • What type of research projects can be submitted for collaboration?

University-led research projects that are seeking collaboration with local schools. The Project PI (the "Responsible Project Investigator" as required for Campus Office for Protection of Human Subjects approval) must be a university faculty member; university staff and students may be named members of the research team (the application submission interface requires a university login and email address).

  • What school districts are part of the research collaboration system?

The University Laboratory High School has expressed extreme interest in working closely with University researchers.

The University works regularly with Urbana (District 116), Champaign (Unit 4), Danville, Mahomet-Seymour, Decatur, Arcola, Tuscola, Rantoul, University Primary School, and also works with other area districts and schools. Please contact Beth Niswander, using the address, for more information regarding research in various school districts. 

  • Can I request to work with specific schools?

Yes, please indicate in your submission the schools you would like to work with. Especially indicate if you have existing relationships and have had preliminary conversations with particular teachers or other school personnel regarding your project. We will attempt to help place your research project at the specified schools. 

  • Are research partnerships with early childhood education programs supported?

University Primary School is a partner. Although we are beginning with a primary focus on K-12 schools, we welcome inquiries from both researchers and early childhood education sites, and will be working to include them in the collaboration system.

  • What should I do if a school or classroom declines to participate in the research study after I have been matched through the placement system?

Please contact us. We will work to identify and direct you to possible alternate locations.

Ongoing Collaborations

  • Do I need to submit a research request if I already have a collaboration with a school and or school teacher/administrator?

Yes, please submit a research request and select “continue ongoing partnership” to indicate that you have an existing relationship. This will help both the university and partnering school and districts, keep track of the active research projects that are currently being conducted. 

Application Attachments, IRB Approval

  • Do I need Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to submit a research request?

Preliminary inquiries may be fielded and forwarded to school districts for feedback before an IRB application has been completed and approved. However, a full research collaboration request must be accompanied by a copy of the IRB approval to be deemed complete and ready for school district agreement. A copy of your completed IRB application and letter of approval need to be attached to your request form at time of submission.

  • If I make amendments or renew my IRB, should I resubmit the full IRB to the partnership system?

Yes, please resubmit the full IRB with research materials. If you are renewing your IRB please submit the renewal letter as well. 

  • Should I submit materials related to my research projects (i.e. surveys, assessments, etc.)?

Yes, please attach and submit all data collection materials related to the research project.

Collaboration Establishment

  • How will I know if I have been matched with a school(s)?

You will receive an email from the the Collaboration System confirming that you have been matched with a school(s), providing information on who to contact to proceed with the research study. 

Documenting Collaboration Development: School Letters for External Funded Submissions

  • The external grant proposal I am preparing to submit requires a school/district letter of support. What should I do?

For any immediate needs, please email us ( to ask for template materials and further assistance.

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